I came across a quote from Dale Cruse on Twitter (check out his Drinks Are On Me blog) -

"Liking Malbec is akin to liking Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue.' It's
predictable & they like it because they're 'supposed' to."

I posted the following snarky comment on my Facebook page (fan me up) -

Now I feel a little lame for liking both Malbec and "Kind of Blue".

Dale explained that he wasn't saying that you shouldn't like Malbec or "Kind of Blue", merely that liking them is a predictable choice.  I accidentally accused him of snobbishness, he corrected me, I recanted, we all lived happily ever after.  After I had thought about his comparison, I think he was onto something.  Malbec and "Kind of Blue" might be the perfect comparison.

I know several people for whom "Kind of Blue" is the only jazz album that they own or listen to.  I don't think that this is because they are supposed to like it, though.  I think that it's because the album contains all of the elements that make great jazz–the improvisational vibe and the feel of a cool downtown red brick bar, filled with smoke and dim lighting.  This album has the sometimes slightly chaotic influence of Coltrane, but Davis keeps him under control.  It's balanced and approachable, managing to avoid the more avant-garde feel of some jazz.  That's what makes "Kind of Blue" the album that can appeal to everyone, not just to jazz fans.

Malbec is the same way.  The variety has a certain wildness to it.  It can have really good complexity and unique character, but it typically has great fruit flavors and isn't overbearing.  Although there are definitely good and bad Malbecs, just like any other wine, there seems to be a general accessibility to Malbec that not all varieties can boast.  I have introduced several friends to Malbec, and I think it might be one of the best "gateway" wines.  One of the first wines that really got me passionate about wine was a Malbec, and I had never even heard of it at the time.

So, I think that Dale and I really agree on the fact that Malbec and "Kind of Blue" are predictable favorites, but I think that my take on it is a little bit different.  Sure, there might be an aspect of press pressure for some people, and maybe you can call it being safe, but in general I think that people like both of these things because they are both very likable.  They are easy things to like.  It's like Dale said in one of his comments, "It's like saying you like sunshine and puppy dogs. OF COURSE you like them – who doesn't?!"